U.S. Markets close in 1 hr 26 mins

Nucor 1Q net income falls 39 pct.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Nucor Corp. said Thursday that its first-quarter net income dropped 39 percent, hurt by lower steel prices and volumes.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company earned $84.8 million, or 26 cents per share, down from $145.1 million, or 46 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2012.

Both the recent quarter and the year-ago period included accounting-related charges of 3 cents per share, while the first quarter of 2012 also included a non-cash tax-related gain of 4 cents per share. Excluding the accounting charge, the company posted an adjusted profit of 29 cents per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $4.55 billion, as Nucor's average sale price dipped 7 percent and volumes shipped to outside customers fell 4 percent to 5.7 million tons.

The results beat Wall Street's estimates. Analysts, on average, expected 24 cents per share on $4.54 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company's average scrap and scrap substitute cost per ton fell 15 percent to $379. Overall operating rates at the company's steel mills dropped to 72 percent from 79 percent in the first quarter of 2012

Nucor expects to see higher profits in the second quarter, helped by better performance at its fabricated construction products businesses, raw materials businesses and most steel mill product groups. It cautioned that import levels, along with ongoing economic and political uncertainty continue to hurt its business.

Nucor shares fell 25 cents to $42.28 in morning trading.